How to winter my oleander

jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))September 5, 2005

I have heard several conflicting ideas as to the proper way to overwinter oleander. I have several oleander plants, as well as 15 different brugmansia, and space is at a premium in my home.

I know that the brugs will go into the cold cellar and go dormant with the occasional watering every few weeks.

I am wondering if I can treat the oleander the same way. Last year I had it in the dining room, but had a very bad case of mealy bug. I was hoping to avoid that this year.

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rosco_p(z6a ont.canada)

John:Just happened to be looking over some previous posts when I came upon your Oleander question. I have had very good success with bringing my Oleanders into my attached unheated garage over the winter. They as you thought go basically dormant. By mid winter last year mine had ripened their seed pods and I was inundated with seed. It was a nice time to harvest as you know you don't get too many garden surprises in our zone at that time of year. What I am doing with mine this year (as I did lose one last winter) is to put them in their pots into a cardboard box filled with shredded newspaper for insulation.I have done this in the past with great success but must have gotten lazy last year and I paid the price. Anyway I hope this gives you an idea as how to handle yours this season. Take care. Talk with you later, Ross.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 8:38PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

When you place your oleander into the garage, are you laying it horizontally, or keeping it vertical?

What do you do for watering? How do you water with all the newspapers? Should they be watered occasionally during the winter, if opting for the dormancy method?

With my brugs, I take them downstairs to the cold cellar after they have dropped their leaves because I stop watering for about 3 weeks. I give them a couple cups of water each, and then forget about them for another 3 or 4 weeks, keeping them in the dark in my cold cellar which does not freeze but gets close.

One of my oleanders is over 4 feet tall, and the others are smaller cuttings which are now about 1/5 feet tall.

What do you do about mealy bugs or other pests?

Â.so many questions.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 3:57PM
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rosco_p(z6a ont.canada)

John: I bring mine into the garage and have them standing vertically in the pots they were in all summer. I just place pot and all into a cardboard box that i have filled half full or more with shredded newspaper.( I have a good supply of this at hand due to a paper shredder at work.)I then backfill more shredded newspaper over the tops of these and there they sit for the winter. I believe I watered them about once a month or so thereafter until spring when out they went during the day and back in at know the routine as you do that with your brugs..right? As for watering, I just pull some of the paper back and give a drink..not a soaking but a drink. As for pests John I really didn"t notice any at all. Whether or not Oleanders are just pest resistant or whether the cool temperatures were a help I don't know, but they were bug free. I find them a very care free plant and one that gives me a lot of bloom colour and longevity. I don't think you can lose with them in our zone!!Hope this helps. Talk with you later. Ross. BTW one of my red oleanders is also approx. 4 feet tall so I just pick it up by the trunk and haul it around. Crude but easy.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 5:25PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Thanks for your response, Ross.

I gather I'll have to look for some tall boxes. LOL

I wonder how old sheets wrapped around them in a non freezing cold cellar would do. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 9:00PM
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Hope you can help! Had an unexpected, very fast move to zone 3, northern Ontario. Because of lack of space, my 2 very mature, healthy oleanders had to spend the fall, and the last 3 weeks outside - we have had some below freezing temps and snow. Finally, yesterday, I was able to get them into a garage - temp. 54F. Scraping the mature stems, there was still bright green, and leaves are still there, looking brownish, but firm. Should I prune them or just leave them be? Am desperately trying not to lose them, as they are beautiful, mature and were given to me. Hoping that you can provide some insight as to how I might bring them forward, or how I can tell if it is too late?
Man thanks.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 9:08PM
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rosco_p(z6a ont.canada)

Maggie: Sounds as if your Oleanders are doing just fine. They seem to be able to take a lot of abuse. I would definetly not try pruning them at this time. I have left mine in my unheated but attached garage for a number of years now to overwinter and they have always come back strong. The brown but firm leaves describes exactly how I see mine every winter.They soon get over this in the spring with new green vigorous growth. You can do your pruning then. Hope this helps and you can enjoy your Oleanders for many years to come. Ross.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 11:23AM
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Ross, thankyou for your response - I just posted same question to the tropicals forum - such good news - I thought I had lost them. Would it be better to keep them in an unheated shed, following the directions of previous postings, or bring them into the house over the winter? We do not have a garage as of yet - would the rise in temps cause a problem for them? Thankyou, Ross.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 9:35PM
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rosco_p(z6a ont.canada)

Maggie: I don't think your unheated shed will cut it for the Oleanders!! Do you have a cool basement?? I would bring them in to a spot that was the coolest where they can go semi-dormant. If you have no spot like tghis and must bring them in to a room with normal room temps. uyou may find you end up with a problem of whitefly or mealy bugs. Hope you are able to find something suitable!!Ross.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 7:31PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I think ideal would be around 45 degree temps for lows and up to around 55 to 60 degrees for highs with good light and some humidity. Then you'll just have to find a spot that comes closest to that.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 10:46AM
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Thankyou Ross and Dave in nova - I think we have it covered - I will do my best to get these plants through this winter - hopefully, I'll have good news next spring!
Enjoy your winter gardens, and wish we had a little bit of that zone 7a dave in nova!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 9:32PM
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I have 16 Oleanders alongside my wood fence, and it`s very impractable to dig them up and bring them in. They are 4 to 5 feet tall and alternate in color, red, white, yellow, and pink. Would streaching a tarp from the top of the fence down (in a triangular fasion) protect them this winter?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 5:12PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Stan - it would depend on what you're trying to protect them from.

A tarp would certainly shed the rain but would also exclude the light and therefore weaken the oleanders.

If you don't mind scampering out on frosty nights, is there a way you can rig a big sheet of frost fleece - fairly thick grade- in the way you've suggested? It will let through the light, rain and air but will give protection from freezing. If you were to also cover it with agricultural film then it 'should' shed snow - provided you have some additional support underneath. Otherwise it sags badly ;-)

PS often it's better to start a fresh thread for a query because sometimes spammers hitch onto old threads and regular users tend to ignore the creatures.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 9:22PM
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I have 4 potted oleander's each about 2 foot tall & just before the snow came they were fine & I poped them into one of those walk in tempory geen houses which zips up.

3 weeks afer the thaw & into warmer rainy weather they are looking a bit sad, pale with black spots.

Any ideas?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 6:39AM
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